At approximately 10:40 p.m. local time on Saturday evening, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive in a wedding hall in Kabul, Afghanistan. At least 63 people were killed and more than 180 injured.
A video uploaded to social media shows the devastation and confusion following the brutal attack:
The Associated Press quotes a man named Amanullah, whose son was killed in the attack, and his body severely disfigured: “I wish I could find the pieces of my son’s body and put them as one piece into the grave.”
Ashraf Ghani, president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, sent out several tweets condemning the attack, offering condolences to the wounded and their families, and assigning a portion of the blame to the Taliban:
I strongly condemn the inhumane attack on the wedding hall in Kabul last night. My top priority for now is to reach out to the families of victims of this barbaric attack. On behalf of the nation I send my heartfelt condolences to the families of those who were martyred.
For those who are wounded, I pray for your speedy recovery. I have ordered the relevant authorities to urgently assist in managing the wounded. In response to this targeted attack I have called an extraordinary security meeting to review and prevent such security lapses.
Taliban cannot absolve themselves of blame, for they provide platform for terrorists. Today is the day of mourning, hence #StateBuilder have cancelled today’s gathering at the Loya Jirga tent.
However, according to CNN, the area in Kabul in which the bombing took place is populated by many in the Shiite Hazara minority, and the Islamic State, a Sunni terrorist organization, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Rita Katz, director of SITE Intelligence Group, tweeted that the Islamic State not only claimed responsibility for the attack, but lied about the number of casualties:
#ISIS cont’s to ravage the Shi’ite community in the #Afghanistan capital #Kabul – claiming yesterday’s devastating suicide bombing at a wedding that resulted in a casualty count (per officials) of 63 killed and 180 wounded. IS still lies – claiming 400 k&w [killed and wounded].
She added that so far this year, the Islamic State has “claimed 30 attacks in Kabul,” targeting “Shi’ite, media personnel, gov’t workers, police & military.”
IS also shared a photo of the alleged suicide bomber.
Mirwais Alani, the groom, told TOLO News, “I was supposed to return happy, but within span of two hours, they devastated my whole life. They devastated my life within seconds. … We had done nothing wrong to anyone, but our lives were devastated.”
TOLO adds that despite the horrific indecent in which bride Roeena’s 11-year-old brother was killed, the couple were still married.
The outlet has also uploaded a video to Twitter detailing the attack:
This latest bombing could hurt the ongoing negotiations between the United States and the Taliban, which, according to the BBC, has denied responsibility for the attack, with a spokesman calling it unjustified.
The U.S. has reportedly been in talks with the Taliban since late-2018, and is allegedly eyeing a deal in which American troops would withdraw from the nation “in exchange for guarantees that Afghanistan would not become a haven for other terrorist groups,” among other agreements, according to the Associated Press, and The New York Times.
Despite the negotiations, the Taliban has continued to engage in attacks. As recently as August 7, a vehicle-bomb was detonated near a police headquarters in Kabul, killing 14 and injuring 145.